Recent Posts for the Lane 11 – General Category

10 Word Choices That Smart Athletes (and Their Parents and Coaches) Make to be the Best of the Best

Posted on October 5, 2014 by

10 Word Choices That Smart Athletes (and Their Parents and Coaches) Make to be the Best of the Best

Jag Gym
11 September 2014

A few weeks ago, I was counseling parents of an athlete at my gym. According to the parents, the daughter was considering “quitting” gymnastics because she believed that she was “sacrificing” too much to do gymnastics.

“What do you mean by your daughter is sacrificing?” I asked.

“I mean she sacrifices so much. You know, normal teenage things like time with friends and Saturday afternoons at the mall,” one parent explained.

“Well,” I responded thoughtfully, “I don’t know that I would use the word ‘sacrifice’ to describe your daughter’s choice in how she is spending her time.”

“Oh, whatever, it’s just words,” the other parent insisted.

But here’s the thing: it is not just words.

Words are how people think. So, the words we choose are critical in shaping how we think about our lives.

Additionally, when we use words that represent concepts like “quitting” or “sacrificing” the words we use are windows into what we believe to be important and how we understand our role and responsibility in our values like pursuing excellence.

Finally, and most relevant to this story, whatever words we chose influence those who hear them.   If parents keep reinforcing to their child that her pursuit of excellence in a sport is a sacrifice their child is making instead of a decision she is making, what effect is that likely to have on the child’s attitude?

These parents are not alone in their struggle to use the best word choices to help their child form a positive attitude and work ethic. As I started to think of all of the variants of this conversation I have had over the years, I came up with a list of 10 word choices one might consider.

Hint: The best of the best always choose the second option.

  1. Sacrifice vs. Choice.   Sacrifice refers to giving something up for the betterment of others, not for oneself. (It also smacks of a victim mentality as if what one is doing is something being done to them). We are talking about sports here, not building water wells in remote Africa or feeding caring for lepers in a remote colony. Choice is a word that comes from a place of power. To be the best of the best, an athlete chooses to go to practice instead of playing video games all afternoon or attending every high school football game.  Michael Hyatt calls this a shift in the language of duty to the language of privilege.
  1. Pressure vs. Drive. Pressure comes from an external force; drive comes from within. It is seldom one sees a great athlete who shrinks in the face of what is commonly referred to as pressure. Why? Because the best of the best don’t experience pressure as pressure, instead what they experience is drive—that force that propels them to focus on their own excellence to the exclusion of all distractions, including what their competitors are doing.
  1. Failure vs. Setback. Things don’t always work out. Is it a fiasco or just an obstacle? The best of the best look at failure as feedback or a setback, not as a catastrophe or the end of the road.
  1. Short-term vs. Long-term goals. While short-term goals are useful in urging motivation in spurts, successful athletes and their parents have a long-eye view for goals. A rough workout, meet or even season does not necessarily indicate a reason to change course if the general direction of the plan is still a positive one. The best of the best remember to see the forest through the trees.
  1. Criticism vs. Coaching. Is a coach’s tough-to-hear words a personal insult or a bad score a diatribe on one’s value as a human being? Or are these both pieces of feedback for an athlete to consider and decide how to incorporate into training or competing moving forward? I am certain you can guess which approach the best of the best athlete takes!
  1. Tragedy vs. Disappointment. There is a difference between a tragedy and a disappointment. What happened 13 years ago today (9/11/2001) was a tragedy. Not getting moved up to level 7 is not a tragedy, it is a disappointment. The best of the best keep these things in perspective.
  1. Difficulty vs. Challenge. When a person comes to something that takes more effort than is typical or has a shortcoming that places them at a competitive disadvantage, it can be classified as a difficulty or a challenge. A difficulty means the task is “hard to do”, where as a challenge means that it is “a stimulating task or problem.” People who are working toward being the best of the best see these moments or faults as challenges, not difficulties. They rise to fight them and find that struggle motivating and exciting. Any Paralympian is a testament to this word choice.
  1. Competition vs. Motivation. Too often I’ve seen a family become upset when there are accomplished athletes within the same program. The green-eyed monster rears its ugly head and can send that family packing because the “competition” during practice is too much. What they fail to understand is that to be the best of the best it is ideal to have the motivation of other excellent athletes with similar goals in your training group. The best of the best are not only unafraid to train with the “competition,” they know that together they will push each other to work harder and be better.
  1. Winning vs. Celebrating. While winning certainly feels great, the best of the best focus on celebrating when they achieve their goals independent of the outcome.   I’ve seen some of my best gymnasts have mediocre meets and walk away with gold medals. In turn, I’ve watched them have incredible meets and place lower on the podium. The best of the best are actually less pleased with those gold medals, favoring the accomplishment of their personal goals.  In a team sport, the best of the best are far less concerned with scoring titles, being named to an All-Star team or MVPs and are singularly focused on making their team World Champions.
  2. Quit vs. End. Quitting is giving up in the middle of something. Ending is deciding something no longer suits you and that it is time to move on. Successful athletes don’t quit, but may chose to end either by retiring or reinventing themselves through how they approach the game (i.e. Kobe Bryant’s transition from leading the league in scoring to working on increasing his assists), by transitioning to a different sport (i.e. gymnasts who transition to diving, dance or any other number of sports) or taking the skills and attitudes honed in the pursuit of being a high level athlete and applying them to school or a career. (Fun fact: 95% of Fortune 500 executives participated in high school sports).  At some point or another athletes will retire; retiring is not quitting, it’s ending.  Please, please, please, if you take no other piece of advice from this article, take this one and do not use the word “quit” to refer to your athlete when he or she ends or retires from a sport or activity.

As the great writer on success Napoleon Hill wrote, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

After speaking with this parent, I had a much better understanding why her daughter felt so put upon in having to be at the gym: she was of the mindset that she was making a sacrifice instead of a choice.  I understood that her family’s use of the word “quit” rather than a discussion of whether it was time to make a transition (end) or to retire from the sport was causing further anxiety. After a good discussion with both the parents and the athlete, we came up with a plan to check in after a month to see how the gymnast was feeling about things.

Just the other day, I ran into the athlete and asked her when she would like to set our next meeting. She told me that once she understood that she was making a choice to be at the gym she felt better about her decision and felt good about where she was at the moment. She wasn’t ready to retire. In short, no meeting was needed.

Words have power. Choose them carefully.

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Presentation Evening

Posted on May 24, 2014 by




Presentation Evening
Tuesday 3 June
BGS ISC Entrance
Pizza and Drinks provided to swimmers and siblings


The BGS Swimming Program will be conducting a short and informal presentation evening on Tuesday 3 June 2014.

The presentation of various awards will be conducted after training 5:40pm, in the undercover entrance to the Indoor Sports Centre.

Pizza and Drinks will be provided to Swimmers and siblings.


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Aqua Shop Store Sale

Posted on May 22, 2014 by

Aqua Shop Store Sales only occur every few years  – be quick – starting this weekend!!

Get 30% off all product in-store at Aqua Shop Brisbane, Sydney, Gold Coast and Melbourne.
Next 16 days only, no rain checks so be in first, to get the best product less 30% off RRP!!

Enjoy the savings for your swimming specialists,

The Aqua Shop Team
Best of the Best

1300 132 852


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GPS Parent Volunteers

Posted on January 26, 2014 by


For the effective running of the 2014 GPS Swimming Season, parents volunteers of BGS boys who are in grade 5 to 12 are required at a number of events.

Duties include time keeping, data recording and preparing/serving breakfasts (Tuesday and Thursday mornings) during term 1, 2014.

Please complete the survey below, outlining what events/activities you are able to provide assistance.

BGS Volunteer Survey

We welcome volunteers from all members of the BGS Swimming Community.

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BGS Car Parking

Posted on January 25, 2014 by


Due to various projects around the School, parking has became an issue again. Therefore, please see the new details below;

Morning Sessions
5:15am – 6:00am Parents may access the rear car park for training drop off.
7:15am Any cars remaining in the rear car park that do not have a BGS Staff sticker will be towed.

Afternoon Sessions
2:00pm – 4:00pm No access to the rear car park
4:00pm boom gate opens, parents may park for pick up

Please note that the official drop-off and pick-up zone for the School is Gregory Tce.
The Normanby Hotel car park is still available.
I am in negotiations with the School in regards to allowing Parents and Athletes to utilize the Blue Door opposite the Normanby Hotel, for daily access the Pool.

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Long Course Training Times

Posted on January 24, 2014 by

Please see the time table below for long course sessions at Somerville House;

Saturday 6:30am-8:30am 18-Jan Lushy Squads
Saturday 6:30am-8:30am 1-Feb Lushy Squads
Saturday 6:30am-8:30am 15-Feb Jan Squads
Saturday 6:30am-8:30am 22-Feb Lushy Squads
Saturday 6:30am-8:30am 1-Mar Lushy Squads
Saturday 6:30am-8:30am 8-Mar Jan Squads
Saturday 6:30am-8:30am 15-Mar Lushy Squads
Saturday 6:30am-8:30am 29-Mar Lushy Squads
Saturday 6:00am-7:30am 5-Apr Lushy Squads
Saturday 6:00am-7:30am 12-Apr Lushy Squads
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Australia Day Training

Posted on January 24, 2014 by

australia_day_18fs3l7-18fs3oiNote that there is training on Australia Day for all squads

Lushy’s Squads
5:30am-7:30am at BGS
3:30pm-5:30pm at BGS

Jan and Jess’ Squads
3:30pm-4:30pm at BGS
Note that Jan and Jess will not be there, Lushy will be taking the session.

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QLD Relay Champs

Posted on December 12, 2013 by

Please find below a schedule of events for the upcoming QLD Relay Championships;

These have been slightly changed since the last email.

7:00am Arrive at BGS
7:15am Uniform Distribution and Team Photo. Wrist bands for parents etc will also be distributed at this time.
7:20am Team Warm-up
8:30am Team on Bus
09:30am Arrive at Chandler
09:45am Enter “BGS Room” at Chandler
10:30am First Event

A full Event Time Line is available here

Note that BGS has hired a room at Chandler this year, for all athletes to sit throughout the Championships.
Athletes are asked to bring their camping chairs or mattress/blankets etc.. for comfort.
BGS will have a TV, HD Player, AcroMats, stretch bands and rollers in the room as well as a couple of eskies to keep any food/drink cold.

Under our hire agreement with Chandler, BGS can not supply athletes with food or drink.

All BGS Coaches will be in attendance.

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